Learn Plant Biology – It’s All in the Touch

Multi-sensory Explorations Imagine picking your favorite fruits and vegetables at the market – blindfolded! What about selecting one Golden Delicious apple from a truckload of 40,000 Red Delicious apples – again blindfolded! Might make you think how important one of our senses, sight, is to our everyday activities. That’s why lessons and activities in the … Read more

Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS): Seven universities, one graduate school

By Hanna Rovenich and Setareh Mohammadin of the EPS PhD council. Benefits of a Netherlands-wide multi-university graduate school The interuniversity Graduate School ‘Experimental Plant Sciences‘ (EPS) trains over 300 PhD candidates at any given time across seven different universities including Wageningen University, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Free University of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Leiden … Read more

Feeding the Planet Summit 2015 #FoodFWD

Hosted by Planet Forward*, the 2015 Feeding the Planet Summit (April 23-24) offered cross-curricular options to help foster sustainable solutions for feeding 9.6 billion by 2050. Meeting Infographics feature key input and interactions from all participants. Topics include how research science, diversity breakthroughs, cross-cutting innovation, storytelling, and even parody (e.g. I’m Farming & I Grow … Read more

SURF 2015: the next wave of undergraduate research

The 2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program results are in! Congratulations  to all the students listed below. Also, kudos and thanks to each student’s dedicated SURF mentor. SURF AWARD RECIPIENTS Doctoral-Granting Institutions Kevin Bird, University of Missouri   Allison Butt, Worcester Polytechnic Institute   Hailey Cambra, Worcester Polytechnic Institute   Maxwell Choka, Queen’s University   … Read more

ROOTOPOWER School Workshop: ‘Vegetables do not grow in the fridge’

On March 26th CEBAS-CSIC, the coordinating partner of the European Project ROOTOPOWER, organized an educational workshop in the Primary School ‘Maristas’, Murcia (Spain). With this activity, young students were able to put themselves in the shoes a scientist and learn how science can help to improve our lives. ROOTOPOWER (www.rootopower.eu), a Knowledge Based Bio-Economy project … Read more

An Egg-speriment: volunteering with ASPB at the White House Easter Egg Roll

I did an experiment this week. In and of itself, this is nothing unique for a graduate student. My experiment was brief, has not been replicated, and is based on a small sample size. But the results are too good to not share. I started by asking my lab mates, “Who wants to plant some … Read more

Advice from a Postdoc: Take Advantage of Mentoring Opportunities with the PlantingScience Online Program

One aspect of my research training and career development that I am very passionate about is the opportunity to mentor students. As such, I am always looking for opportunities to get involved with students at earlier stages in their education. So when I discovered PlantingScience.org, an online mentoring resource which was advertised on the American … Read more

Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (F1000Research article)

We’ve now been publishing “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” for five years, and it’s clear that this feature of The Plant Cell is being used across the world; the articles are regularly accessed from sites in more than 100 countries (the figure shows 2014 country distribution). We recently ran a survey to find out how … Read more

Share your enthusiasm! Teaching Tools submission competition

For years we’ve been asking people how they define a great teacher. One trait that repeatedly comes up is “enthusiasm.” Nobody enthuses about plants better than plant scientists, so we’re offering you a chance to “share your enthusiasm”. Have you got a passion for plant science? Do you have a favorite paper, experiment, topic, or … Read more

Fascination of Plants Day: Undergraduate Involvement at University of Maryland

Students in the University of Maryland-Baltimore Campus (UMBC) Plant Molecular Biology course taught by Prof. Hua Lu can earn extra-point opportunities for the course this semester by participating in the Fascination of Plants Day on May 18th. The class will conduct events on the UMBC campus, such as making a poster to show how great plants … Read more

Family Science Festival – ASPB spreads FoPD inspiration at AAAS Family Science Days in San Jose, CA

On February 14-15, visitors to the ASPB interactive exhibit on plant science will use plants to explore genetics and DNA. Kids of all ages also will play games that underscore how critical plants are to our planet and our daily lives. With plant-y interests primed, booth visitors will be invited to share Fascination of Plants … Read more

From SURF to Turf

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship launches a research career spanning from aquatic algae to organic agriculture Fledgling Research As an undergraduate majoring in Biology at the University of Maryland, I was excited to explore the research opportunities that my school had to offer. My grandfather had taught as a plant physiology professor at Loyola University Maryland, … Read more

From chemistry to current events: The six macronutrients that make up a plant (N, P, K, Mg, S & Ca)

In the second of three Teaching Tools in Plant Biology spanning the topic of Plant Nutrition, we examine how macronutrients affect plant growth. Specifically, we look at (1) the availability of nutrients in the soil along with the effects of soil microbes and physical properties on their availability; (2) nutrient uptake from the external environment, … Read more

Participatory Art in the Veggie Garden

1st Pennsylvania plan shared for Fascination of Plants Day 2015! WoMo Artists, Maryann Worrell (Arcadia University) & Doug Mott will build a participatory installation called Crisis Farm: Seed to Table. With help from the Street Road Artists Space, this portable garden & gallery exhibition aim to cultivate community-wide fascination with essential elements of our natural … Read more


作者:玛丽·威廉姆斯 (Mary Williams)和 顾方为 (Fangwei Gu) This article is also posted in English (link). [玛丽]        对于那些想要开拓眼界,并提高自己英语水平的植物学家来说,美国依然是他们的一个主要目的地。但通过移民系统前往美国的道路却注定不会轻松。顾方为是美国密歇根大学的一名博士生,他愿意向我们分享被美国大学录取的经验。本篇日志将以中英文双语的形式发布 (link)。 [方为] 有多少在美国实验室中工作的植物学家出生在美国之外?如果你翻阅美国植物生物学家协会2014年年会的名册,你会发现许多来自中国,印度,日本,韩国,德国等国家的研究生和博士后。   我是他们中的一员。诚然与20多年前相比,来自海外的科学家有更多的机会前往美国,但我们依然需要花上几年的努力来抓住这样的机会。我从2007年开始准备出国留学,并在2009年获得了博士的录取通知书。对于那些母语并非英语的学生来说,他们必须参加托福 (TOEFL )考试。此外,为了满足申请的条件,他们还需要提供 GRE 的成绩单。在我申请的时候,中国大陆每年只有两次参加GRE考试的机会。这个数字在2014年已经提高到了30次,但为了确保考位,学生们依旧需要提早注册。   在等待托福和GRE考试成绩时,我开始在网上寻找想要申请的研究生项目。我想要从事植物发育方向的研究,所以我翻出了美国新闻网的《大学排名》(http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities),依次打开这些大学的生物系页面,并用“植物发育”作为关键词进行搜索。我列出了那些我想要加入的课题组的名字,并向相关教授询问,他们是否有招收研究生的意愿与资金。最终我定下了我想要申请的7所大学(一般候选大学名单会在10-20不等)。   当我有了选校名单和考试成绩后,我就开始了正式的申请。部分的申请工作是在网上进行的。我需要上传我的简历,我的个人陈述(回答为什么选择这所学校之类的问题),我的三名推荐人的联系方式,以及托福和GRE的成绩。之后我需要将我的本科成绩单,学位证书的复印件以及其他必须的材料一起寄往这些大学。   但这些只是个开头。这一切努力的目的仅仅在于让你在众多申请者中脱颖而出,并获得一个面试的机会。在美国本土的学生能够亲自访问学校并参加面试,但对我们这些国际学生来说,面试则一般用电话或者Skype进行。我很幸运地能够在北京与两名教授进行面对面的面试。他们在中国一共面试了将近50名学生,只有我和其他的5名学生最终被录取。   被录取的学生将在面试的几周或者几个月后收到录取通知和I-20(给学生的移民材料)。对许多国际学生来说,为了进入美国,他们需要有F1类型的签证。获得签证的过程比申请学校要来得简单,但依旧非常麻烦。你能从SEVIS的网站上(Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)得到更多相关的信息。F1签证的申请者需要在线填写一份DS-160表,并联系当地的美国大使馆或领事馆来预约面签。在面签的过程中,面试官会询问申请者一系列关于专业与未来学习计划的问题。由于F1是非移民签证的一种,如果申请者流露出任何毕业后想要留在美国的意图,那么他/她的申请就有可能被拒绝。通过面试后,签证签发的时间可长可短,我当时等了5周。   博士后赴美的过程与研究生有着些许不同。他们直接受雇于实验室的负责人,而并非被院系录取。因此他们并不需要准备院系的申请材料,也无需参加托福和GRE考试。为了得到博士后的职位,申请者往往需要直接与潜在的导师联系,并附上自己的简历和研究计划。导师会通过电话或Skype与候选人们进行面试,而这也是测试申请者英语能力的场合。通过面试的申请者会收到聘书。为了进入并合法地留在美国工作,博士后需要J1(http://j1visa.state.gov/,或参阅 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J-1_visa)或H1B类(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa)签证。大家可以从全美博士后协会的网站上(http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/publications-5/toolkits/quick-guide-to-visas)得到更多关于这两种签证的信息。   如果你经历了以上的这些步骤,那么恭喜了,欢迎来到美国!   其他的事实: 一名学生每年的学费和生活费大约在5万美元左右。如果一名学生没有从大学处得到资助,那么他/她需要提供财产证明(一般是银行对帐单)来证实他/她能够承担这些费用。但我们也要知道,2012年中国家庭的平均年收入是2100美元(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/20/world/asia/survey-in-china-shows-wide-income-gap.html?_r=0)。   托福考试,GRE考试和签证申请的费用都在100-150美元不等。   国际学生的申请费(平均在70美金)往往比美国本土学生的申请费要贵,而申请的截止日期也更早。   [玛丽] 顾方为 目前在埃里克·尼尔森(Erik … Read more

Charging ahead with plant nutrition

Teaching Tools in Plant Biology has released the first of a three-part series on the topic of Plant Nutrition, “Plant Nutrition 1: Membrane Transport and Energetics, K Nutrition and Na Toxicity”,  co-authored by Michael Blatt. This lesson starts by describing the central role of membrane transport and energetics in plant nutrition. The proton-motive force needed … Read more

Outreach is a Hybrid

What Transpires When Scientists Reach Out? Broader Impacts and Community Service – compatible outreach options Outreach matters. Good outreach advances science. Some folks conduct outreach through broader impact goals. Others get involved at the community level. What’s the difference? Where do you fit in? Broader Impacts Action Items: 1. Learn more about Broader Impacts from … Read more

Plant Biology 2014 Special Minisymposium: Bioinformatic Resources for Plant Biology Research

I was eagerly waiting to write a post on this topic. This workshop attracted a lot of conference attendees, since current day plant biology research cannot move forward without these resources. Unfortunately it was kind of an effort to pack too many eggs in one basket within a limited time which could not meet expectations … Read more